No Furlough for Musicians

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the music industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors to date, with pubs, live events and social gatherings all being put under strict restrictions. As we know it, many musicians' careers came to a halt back in early-2020. With 40% of musicians not qualifying for the furlough scheme or SEISS, 87% of musicians who were on furlough faced hardship towards the end of 2020. Now, in 2021, almost half have already found work outside of the industry.

“Musicians are working in supermarkets, being Deliveroo drivers, going back to things they trained for early in life,” Horace Trubridge, the union’s general secretary, told the Guardian. “Anything but music – that’s the problem."

Lianna Lee Davies, bass player in Bristol rock band Turbowolf is one musician who “couldn’t get furlough or a government self-employment grant so we slipped through the cracks and lost everything.” After "falling through the cracks", Lianna first began teaching others online through music courses. With that not working out and leaving her partner and child in a vulnerable state, she opened up LD's Café for takeaways, a vegan-inspired menu serving out of The Chatterton’s Cafe.

"I just felt that there's no point in sitting around and waiting for the government to decide on what I can and can't do, so I took control of the situation for my family and it luckily worked. Because of Brexit, the likelihood of musicians being able to sustainably make money and tour is getting lower and lower. I want to be an employer where musicians have a job to come back to in between gigs and touring when everything starts up again." - Lianna, BBC.

With Lianna ''intending to hire struggling musicians not only due to the pandemic but due to future difficulties she foresees due to Brexit,'' the takeaway and delivery service runs three days a week.

Although the pandemic has affected many musicians, it saved one mans life, Tom Corneill. The somerset artist who lost his investment job of 12 years due to redundancy back in January 2020 was in a ''dark place'' before the first lockdown and restrictions meant he could not perform. Quitting the band he had been in for 11 years and describing the onset of the pandemic as feeling like he had "lost everything,"

"It got to the point where I had to answer questions about suicidal thoughts and that's a scary place."

At the end of 2020, Tom started his new band called Young Martyrs as well as releasing his podcast on mental health called Everyday Problems.

"Rediscovering I had music saved my life and I'm now doing music full-time and have turned my life around, I have a new lease of life."

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By Kristin Hurst

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